As part of Unite With Ukraine's UWU ongoing series, "Who Are Our Donors?," we profile the dynamic Ms. Danya Pankiw.
Danya, is a young leader in the Ukrainian Canadian community who has just completed her undergraduate studies and is moving into the career world.
Can you please tell us a bit more about yourself - how are you involved in the Ukrainian community?
I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and have been involved in the Ukrainian Canadian diaspora community. I joined the scouting Plast Ukrainian Youth Association when I was 6 years old and attended Ukrainian Saturday School each week. I attended Queen’s University and where I completed my Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, and Bachelor of Education. At Queen’s University, I was involved in the Ukrainian Student Association. It was through the Ukrainian student club where I learned about the Ukrainian Canadian Student’s Union (SUSK) and got involved from there.
Can you tell us more about what SUSK is - how did you get involved?
The Ukrainian Canadian Students’ Union is a national student organization which advocates concerns relevant to Ukrainian-Canadian students. SUSK serves as a national forum in which these concerns are discussed and acted upon. It is the coordination body for Ukrainian Student Organizations throughout Canada and represents more than 25 member organizations. SUSK is the largest Ukrainian student union outside of Ukraine. I became involved in SUSK in my third year of undergraduate studies and was elected as the Internal Relations Director. I worked to grow SUSK’s membership as well as strengthen ties to other Ukrainian organizations in the community. From there, I was elected President, now in my second term.
What was the "Sweat With SUSK" Move-A-Thon?
Throughout July and August 2022, SUSK hosted a month-long move-a-thon called, Sweat with SUSK. This was the second year SUSK hosted this event with the goal of getting members of the community active and focusing on their wellbeing, while fundraising for Ukraine. During the final week of Sweat with SUSK, participants engaged in a walkathon where they pledged donations for the amount of distance walked. The proceeds were donated to Unite with Ukraine.
What made you feel motivated to help raise funds for Ukraine - why did you choose to help Ukrainian World Congress?
Since February 24, 2022, SUSK has been dedicating all efforts to raise funds for Ukraine, advocate for its freedom, and implement support for Ukrainian university and college students in Canada. We saw the walkathon as an excellent way to engage our community members to come together and raise money for Ukraine. The Ukrainian World Congress is fundraising for Ukraine through its Unite with Ukraine campaign. We chose to fundraise for this initiative, as it provides resources on the ground for the brave individuals defending Ukraine. We wanted to support the hard work that the Ukrainian World Congress is doing in helping Ukraine in its fight for freedom.
As a young person what would you like to see for the future of Ukraine and its place in the global community?
Ukraine has made its mark in the global community as the strongest nation in the world by becoming a symbol of freedom and bravery. Through my advocacy work with SUSK, I have learned how large of an impact youth and students can have in raising awareness and in creating real change in our global communities. I would like to encourage everyone to continue to find ways in which they can put their unique strengths forward in helping Ukraine, and have their voices heard.
"Cоюз Українськoгo Студентства Канади" (CУСК), "Ukrainian Canadian Students' Union," or "Union des Étudiants Ukrainiens Canadiens" is a non-profit coordinating body of Ukrainian Students’ Organizations (USOs) at post-secondary institutions across Canada. It was formed in December 1953 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Though it fell inactive in 2001, SUSK was revived at the XXII Congress of Ukrainian Canadians held in Winnipeg, in October 2007.
As a member of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), SUSK's mandate is to serve as a national forum through which concerns and issues relevant to Ukrainian Canadian students are discussed and acted upon. SUSK works to develop the leadership potential of all its members and encourages all students to explore, honour, and celebrate their Ukrainian identity.
Our goal is to present Ukraine with an "Army of Drones" – real support from Ukrainians worldwide. To participate, you need to make a donation to UWC's UniteWithUkraine campaign. With the collected funds, UWC will purchase drones selected by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. We will mark each drone for the specific contributing community or organization.
We Also Fund Pilot Training For US$ 2,000 per Person.
In July 2022, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) and the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to support the UNITED24 fundraising platform. The first joint project is the "Army of Drones". This program includes drone procurement, delivery, maintenance and replacement, as well as pilot training.
The project will raise funds to purchase 200 professional unmanned drone systems for aerial reconnaissance. They are vital equipment that Ukraine's defenders need in order to fight off the Russian invasion.
The Drone Army will allow the defenders of Ukraine to constantly monitor an enormous 2 470 km frontline and support an effective response to enemy attacks.
UNITED24 was launched by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the main venue for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine. Funds will be transferred to the official accounts of the National Bank of Ukraine and allocated by assigned ministries to cover the most pressing needs.
Established in 1967, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) is the global voice for the Ukrainian people worldwide. As an international NGO, we represent the interests of more than 20 million Ukrainians in the diaspora, unite Ukrainian communities and organizations in 60+ countries, and work to support a democratic, prosperous, European Ukraine.
The UWC is recognized by the United Nations Economic and Social Council as a non-governmental organization with special consultative status and has a participatory status as an international non-governmental organization with the Council of Europe.
The UWC is part of the global Ukrainian family. We are working with trusted partners on procurement and logistics for this initiative. Our many long-standing relationships with organizations in Ukraine put us in a unique position to quickly and efficiently provide the defenders of Ukraine with the help that they need.
The UWC is an organization that has volunteerism at its core. Our passion for our work drives our desire to maximize the impact of every donation made. We will update our donors on the impact of their donations as the Unite with Ukraine campaign progresses.
The UWC is also leading global coordination and logistics for the Ukrainian community, and other NGO support efforts.